Arts & Culture


Fatalism and Humor in Israeli Fiction

By Susan Miron

Uncle Peretz Takes Off: Short Stories By Yaakov Shabtai Translated From the Hebrew by Dalia Bilu

Overlook Duckworth, 239 pages, $24.95. * * *The Israeli author Yaakov Shabtai, who died in 1981, wrote several morbidly memorable first sentences. “Goldman’s father died on the first of April, whereas Goldman himself committed suicide onRead More


On the Small Screen, Kitsch and a Witch

By Lisa Keys

That pesky, mysterious Lilith.As the mythical first wife of Adam who, as his equal, refused to lie beneath him, she’s been a source of wonder and inspiration for thousands of years. Demonic references in the Talmud and Kabbalist texts have led many to fear her; more recently, she’s been worshipped as a goddess and has been “reclaimed” byRead More


The Latest Round of Jewwear

By E.B. Solomont

Around three years ago, Jon Polsky and Josh Goldstein thought that T-shirts with Yiddish slogans would be cool. Polsky was recruited to model a “Mensch” shirt, and he willingly wore a navy shirt with an iron-on appliqué, thinking all was well and good.That was until last fall, when Yiddish Ts started cropping up all over town and the pairRead More


A Pushcart of Lower East Side Noshes

By Andrea Toochin

Can’t afford the lamb at Mirko’s or the seafood at Nick & Toni’s in the Hamptons? For those of us city dwellers, there’s the Noshcart.The Noshcart is a care package that lets you enjoy the kosher delicacies of the Lower East Side at home, “all delivered to you in a unique, reusable miniature pushcart —Read More


Putting the Fun in Fundamentalism

By Ruth Andrew Ellenson

Born-again Christian youth pastor Shari Putney is standing at the top of a stairway outside a theater in Hollywood, Calif., presiding over a group of young adults, decked out in a sequined, pale-blue mother-of-the-bride dress and a huge diamond cross. Clearly subscribing to the theory that the higher the hair, the closer to God, PutneyRead More


A Final Rush of Eloquence

By Harvey Shapiro

Deuteronomy approaches its close this week, and with it Moses, that great leader, who had been so chary of speech in his youth, gathers himself into a final rush of eloquence that is both a full-scale poem or song and a summing up of the story thus far. He delivers it to the entire congregation of Israel so that each person will know whereRead More


From A to Zorn: Musical Tributes To History

By Masha Leon

“Great Jewish Artists Perform Great Jewish Composers,” the September 7 concert at the 92nd Street Y, launched the weeklong New York Jewish Music & Heritage Festival celebrating the 350th anniversary of Jews in America.Festival founder and director Michael Dorf attributed the festival’s success to, among others: UJA-Federation’sRead More


Pop Music for the Yom Kippur Set

By Rick Harrison

Contemporary music and the Yom Kippur service might sound as though they go together like french fries and ice cream. But after enough hours on an empty stomach, unusual combinations start to grow on us. And after some time with “TekiYah,” the new CD of High Holy Days music from New York City’s Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, you just mightRead More


Lost for a Century, the Minhogimbukh Returns

By Shira Levine

There was once an Eastern European tradition to cook chicken livers on Rosh Hashanah because their name in Yiddish, leberlakh, sounds like the injunction “leb ehrlikh,” to “live honestly.”In fact, there were loads of other customs worldwide — some communities shunned vinegar while celebrating the New Year, because of its sourRead More


Rosh Hashanah

By Joshua Halberstam

A couple of months ago, I joined in a moment of mass ridicule. The occasion was a front-page article in The New York Times about ultra-Orthodox women burning $2,000 wigs because the hair had been traced to idolatrous Hindu rites. How peculiar, we thought.The deeper peculiarity, however, was not my reaction to wigs and idolatry, but to the notionRead More


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